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Mirkin Honored With Second Major National Award

June 3, 2008 | by Megan Fellman
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Chad A. Mirkin, one of the world's leaders in the research and application of nanotechnology, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Defense as an inaugural fellow in the department's new National Security Science and Engineering Faculty Fellows (NSSEFF) Program.

Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in Northwestern's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor of medicine and of materials science and engineering, is one of six distinguished university faculty scientists and engineers forming the program's first class.

Mirkin also received, in 2004, the Director's Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an honor on par with the NSSEFF Program, monetarily and in prestige. He is the only person to receive both awards.

The NSSEFF program provides grants to top-tier researchers from U.S. universities to conduct long-term, unclassified, basic research that is of strategic importance to the Department of Defense.

Mirkin, director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern, will receive up to $3 million of direct research support for up to five years for his research project, "Functional One-Dimensional Structures Based on On-Wire Lithography."

On-Wire Lithography, a process for fabricating and structuring nanowires, was invented by Mirkin and allows individuals to construct nanostructures that are useful in many important fields, ranging from medical diagnostics to highly miniaturized electronics and computational devices.

Applicants underwent a rigorous nomination and selection process to establish which among them appeared to hold the greatest potential for addressing important basic research areas that underpin future Department of Defense technology development, such as in sensors, surveillance and information security.

Nearly 150 academic institutions submitted more than 500 nomination letters, followed by more than 350 technical white papers. After a rigorous technical review, 20 semifinalists were invited to submit full proposals outlining their research plans. Each of the semifinalists participated in a scientific interview before a distinguished panel of experts.

Mirkin is world-renowned for his invention and development of biological and chemical diagnostic systems based upon nanomaterials. In addition, he is the inventor and chief developer of Dip-Pen Nanolithography, a groundbreaking nanoscale fabrication and analytical tool, and is the founder of Nanosphere and NanoInk, two Chicago-based companies.

Mirkin has been recognized with more than 50 numerous national and international awards for his advances. These include, in addition to the NIH Director's Pioneer Award, the Inorganic Nanoscience Award from the American Chemical Society (ACS); the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences; the ACS Nobel Laureate Signature Award; Discover 2000 Innovation of the Year Award; the Feynman Prize in Nanotechnology; and the Leo Hendrick Baekeland Award.

He is the author or coauthor of more than 320 refereed publications and 330 patents (80 issued). Mirkin serves or has served on the editorial advisory board of more than 20 chemistry journals and is founding editor of the international journal of nanotechnology, Small.
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